Meemu Atoll, Maldives ()
The Coral Trout (Plectropomus leopardus) also has a couple of other common names such Leopard Coral Grouper or Leopard Coral Trout. It is a close relation to fish from the grouper and coral cod families.
Coral trout are a unique fish species in the fact that all species are born females before changing sex after a period of growth and after at least one cycle of spawning.
It has been found that they can change sex any time between a length of 23 and 62cm and the general average has been noted at around 40cm.
They spend most of their life living within 500m of coral reefs, shipwrecks or any other form of submerged structure. They are a common and favourite fish species that are found in the Great Barrier Reef of the coast of Queensland, Australia. They have an orange body that generally has many white/blue spots covering their body.
You can find coral trout living in various locations across the Western Pacific Ocean. Destinations such as Tonga, Fiji, Japan, French Polynesia, Australia. As the name suggests, they enjoy living in and around areas of coral reefs and have been found as far as 100m in water depth.
To target coral trout you will need to be fishing in areas of reef, submerged structures such as shipwrecks or wharves and other manmade and natural objects.
Fishing techniques used can include throwing poppers or diving minnows, dropping and retrieving metal jig heads while sitting above an uneven coral reef bed or even by using live or dead bait such as pilchards or banana fish.
Ensure you are ready for a fight when targeting coral trout as they are an aggressive and tough fish species to land.
Coral trout are certainly one of the nicest fish species you can find in the ocean. They are a highly sought after reef species for anyone looking to either sell commercially or return home with a nice dinner meal.
They are the preferred fish species to keep for many fishermen in Australian states of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
As usual, regulations can and will vary from location to location and even from state to state in Australia. A good guide is to ensure your only keeping fish over 38cm (14in) and a bag limit of 7.
If you're not fishing with a charter though ensure you know the exact size and bag limits before going fishing.